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On-Call Supply Chain Professionals Help Startup Achieve Agility and Profitability

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Challenge: Reducing the cost, time and risk of bringing electric vehicles to market
Solution: IndustryStar Supply Chain as a Service
Company: May Mobility Inc.
Headquarters: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Operation: Electric autonomous shuttle original equipment manufacturer

The challenge

May Mobility Inc. develops, builds and operates electric autonomous shuttles for cleaner urban mobility. The company operates three U.S. service centers with 6-10 shuttles per site. Because these shuttles run 10-12 hours per day, service parts management, as well as maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) tasks are critical.  

Initially, these practices resulted in excessive waste. The shuttles are composed of modular assemblies. As parts were removed from modules to replace worn parts, entire modules were scrapped at full bill-of-material value. Each service center would store removed parts to be shipped back to company headquarters months later, usually without information documenting service issues or reasons for replacement.

At headquarters, the returned parts were unboxed and placed in a quarantine area. Once a returned part was in quarantine, the general assumption was that it was unusable, so it was slated for recycling. This resulted in reworkable or immediately reusable parts being discarded. 

To further complicate matters, the company struggled with cost and timing challenges related to procuring supplies for production, service management and MRO because the company’s volumes were so low.  

The solution

May Mobility chose IndustryStar’s Supply Chain as a Service offering to manage its end-to-end supply chain operations. The technology-enabled, managed-services platform combines on-demand, experienced professionals with cloud-based supply chain productivity software to support a company’s supply chain activities. For example, the IndustryStar solution ensures parts and materials availability, checks for optimal pricing, and leverages purchasing power to reduce costs while still delivering consistent and timely supply. For May Mobility, it also manages service parts and MRO physical deliveries, inventory, and reverse logistics. 

May Mobility leaders use the platform’s automated plan-for-every-part (PFEP) software to collaborate with IndustryStar team members and suppliers in real time in order to exchange part costs, lead times and technical requirements. This, in turn, accelerates shuttle timelines. May Mobility’s engineering and production teams also use the PFEP cloud software to collaborate to develop and optimize future generations of shuttles. 

In addition, May Mobility teams at each site are in the process of deploying IndustryStar’s mobile software application to automate the placement of repeat service parts and MRO purchases with one-button ordering.

The results

Through working with IndustryStar, May Mobility has achieved $673,000 in part cost avoidances, expedited its launch timeline by three months and avoided the need to hire a supply chain team. All of this was achieved within 120 days, despite a 500% increase in shuttle production volume.

“IndustryStar is saving us 18% on every electric autonomous shuttle we build and has reduced our full-time equivalent people costs by $170,000 per year,” says Edwin Olson, May Mobility CEO and cofounder. “Working with IndustryStar also has reduced our time-to-market and made us more efficient.”  

Lukas Schrader, May Mobility director of autonomous vehicle production, adds, “Utilizing IndustryStar as our on-demand supply chain partner allows us to accelerate innovation while enhancing company agility and profitability.”

Moreover, the solution also has laid the groundwork for lower-risk expansion. May Mobility is improving its agility and profitability while leveraging the support of supply chain professionals without the startup expenses of in-house, full-time supply chain staff and supply chain software. Going forward, IndustryStar can adjust its support as needed to help May Mobility reach its supply chain operations goals.

About the Author

Jennifer Storelli

Jennifer Storelli is a freelance writer. She may be contacted through editorial@apics.org.

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